Cellaring American Barleywine

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by estans2, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. estans2

    estans2 Initiate (0) Sep 29, 2016 Maryland

    So I am fairly new to cellaring, I have about 30 beers as of now. I received a 4 pack of Uinta Anniversary ale and tried one fresh. It was delicious as is, fairly hoppy but not fully overpowering the dark chewy fruit from the malt. I was curious if I were to age the remaining 3, would they age well? How long would it be recommended to age? Do they take on the same characteristics as an aged English barley wine? Lastly, what other American Barley wines would you recommend for aging?
     
  2. buckeye1275

    buckeye1275 Zealot (501) Mar 21, 2013 Delaware
    Premium

    I have aged Anniversary ale from Uinta before and would say it is better fresh. This is just my personal opinion. Lately, I have noticed that barleywines get very oxidized and I don't really enjoy that flavor (someone described it as wet cardboard once).

    I would suggest you cellar them and taste one in about 6 months and then a year and see what how you like the flavors. It is a pretty easily obtainable beer so you can always find more if you like the what the cellaring does.
     
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  3. buckeye1275

    buckeye1275 Zealot (501) Mar 21, 2013 Delaware
    Premium

    And other barleywines to cellar that are easily found are Bigfoot from SN, Old Stock Ale from North Coast, Horn Dog from Flying Dog and Old Foghorn from Anchor.
     
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  4. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,110) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    it can be hit or miss. some beers' hop flavors age poorly, some don't.

    There can also be an "awkward" phase when the hops are fading, but the malt flavors haven't "taken over" yet.
     
  5. estans2

    estans2 Initiate (0) Sep 29, 2016 Maryland

    Thanks for the suggestions. I have Horn Dog as well. I had their Vertical at the brewery and that with 4 years on it is very tastey
     
  6. needs_more_dog

    needs_more_dog Initiate (0) Sep 13, 2016 Arizona

    you can take Uinta to probably the year mark. I have one that I will see how it is about 18 months. but I would either drink fresh to 5 mo.s, then maybe again between 11-12 mo.s. I believe their 'best by' is a year from bottling

    I've noticed this from about 7 to 10 months. I do not like it. the 'flavor' of the hops is gone leaving only a really strong, off-putting bitterness reminiscent of earwax, which then backs off enough about 11 to 12 months to let malts come through, becoming pretty decent again, but bitterness should slowly continue to fade
     
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  7. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Meyvn (1,322) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
    Trader

    I've never had uinta's barley wine, but if you didn't care for it fresh just try the other 3 at a determined timetable, I like to do every 6 months or year depending on the beer.
     
  8. RDMII

    RDMII Disciple (379) Apr 11, 2010 Georgia

    Although these four are completely different beers. Bigfoot is "American style", essentially an imperial IPA, while Old Stock is an old ale and the other two are English style BWs.
     
  9. Jonl0424

    Jonl0424 Initiate (55) May 23, 2015 Michigan

    I'd give Stone Old Guardian a try
     
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  10. estans2

    estans2 Initiate (0) Sep 29, 2016 Maryland

    Yeah I have Old Guardian and it is great. I have had plenty of American Barley wines as well as English. I have only had English barley wines that have been aged. Does old guardian age well?
     
  11. buckeye1275

    buckeye1275 Zealot (501) Mar 21, 2013 Delaware
    Premium

    I have a bottle from 2014. I was planning on drinking it soon (might be tonight, now). I will let you know what I think.
     
  12. Samlover55

    Samlover55 Defender (615) Oct 8, 2015 New York
    Trader

    Here is my review of a almost 4 year old bottle
    From the cellar
    12oz bottle into Libbey Tulip
    Bottled 1/7/13 (3 yrs 9 months old)
    L- dark brown almost black, with tints of red, thick tan head that is here to stay, leaving gorgeous rings of lacing
    S- sweet enticing malt, sweet dark fruits such as dates & figs, caramel and incredibly some hop bitterness as well
    T- rich chocolate malt, the dark fruit on the linger, with a spicy finish that has the a slight (expected) oxidation
    F- rich and full bodied, heavy carbonation, drinking exceptionally smooth without a trace of the 10.4% alcohol
    O- this beer has aged incredibly well, as mentioned in the feel drinking real smooth, only slight trace of oxidation, will definitely make an effort to seek this one out again

    I say cellar on or two.
    Cheers!
     
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  13. RDMII

    RDMII Disciple (379) Apr 11, 2010 Georgia

    Old Guardian is a very hop aggressive beer, it will do the same as Bigfoot or Hog Heaven where the hops eventually oxidize and turn to the cardboard taste that admittedly, some people like. I think personally it will never reach a drinkable point, fresh it's just an imperial IPA, aged it's a mess. Hop lovers won't agree.
     
  14. CoreyC

    CoreyC Initiate (191) Mar 16, 2015 Wisconsin

    Last month I had two year old Anniversary Ale and thought it was good - for me much improved from fresh. I don't like hoppy bitterness at all, so fresh I didn't like it at all fresh. I have one more and am waiting for the three year mark. I think the trying at every six months idea is the right strategy for you since you liked it fresh.
    I also think you want to make a distinction on the suggestion here on ABWs and EBWs. With a few exceptions, you probably don't want to go longer than 2 or 3 years with the ABWs. Since they are more heavily hopped, and with the types of hops they use, often they get a bad cardboard flavor with too much time. The EBWs (like Horn Dog you have) can go longer, some up to decades because of the lack of and type of hops. They are typically much sweeter which I love but they may be or become too sweet for you.
     
  15. zid

    zid Champion (878) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    I think you're just going by what they're classified as on this site... and it's an exaggeration to claim that they are completely different in regards to style. By calling Bigfoot an imperial IPA, you are already recognizing that there will not be clear lines from one thing to the next... and that you can't put too much faith in what a brewer calls a beer or how it's listed in a system. If one thinks that there is an "American style," then Old Foghorn is an "American style" even if Bigfoot is far more aggressive. I haven't had Horn Dog in ages, but I've seen it listed elsewhere as "American style" as well. There also isn't anything about Old Stock that would exclude it from a barley wine category... the brewers are simply calling it an old ale/stock ale.
     
  16. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,227) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    While old stock may not be an old ale, but rather a barleywine, I do think only a mad man would put it in the same category as bigfoot.
     
  17. zid

    zid Champion (878) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    You can easily put them in the same category if the category is "strong ale" (which isn't a bad category). Maybe I'm a madman. :confused:

    Bigfoot is a really funny beer because it's practically an anomally in the category it almost defined.

    I'm not claiming that Old Sock isn't an "old ale," and I'm not saying it's in the "American style"... I'm just saying that that there isn't anything about it that would prevent it from being labeled a barley wine.
     
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  18. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,227) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Lol. Heady topper could be a strong ale too, along with yeti. I do think there is an inherent value to classifications that are a bit more definite than strong ale. But in the barleywine category things do get a bit more broad. Even beers like BBomb push the style limitations, that beer is more like a stout to me. In the end it is becoming more difficult to define these beers.
     
  19. zid

    zid Champion (878) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    To use your word, brewers are madmen. Sierra Nevada (knowingly or not) literally put Bigfoot in the exact same category as Gold Label and Tally-Ho. You, me, and @RDMII are also madmen for trying to make sense of it. Long live the madmen.
     
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  20. RDMII

    RDMII Disciple (379) Apr 11, 2010 Georgia

    Tally-Ho is such a perfect example of an EBW, how could anyone try Bigfoot and think it's even close.

    As for "strong ale", the shining examples are Arrogant Bastard (overhopped and more IPA like) and Dead Guy ( a maibock that's also overhopped). It literally just becomes a catch all at the end of the day.
     
  21. dlcarst

    dlcarst Initiate (87) Aug 21, 2015 Illinois

    Old Guardian is not being released in 2017. Stone said it's not necessarily retired, but not on the schedule for 2017.
     
  22. CaptainHate

    CaptainHate Devotee (447) Apr 22, 2006 Ohio

    Rather than start a new thread I thought I'd add to this with my question: what are your experiences with Bell's Third Coast Old Ale versus SN Bigfoot? Vintage Beers by Patrick Dawson says that the best range for Bigfoot is 3-5 years; I bought a six pack and intend to follow that. He didn't single out the Bell's and I was wondering what anyone who's cellared it thinks.
     
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  23. youradhere

    youradhere Zealot (515) Feb 29, 2008 Washington
    Trader

    I think Bells has a thicker/sweeter body and tastes better than Bigfoot aged, whether or not one is better than the other is purely subjective (in other words it is up to personal tastes). Bigfoot does have a more “pithy” (white part inside an orange peel) bitterness to it, that I can at least tell does not fade with time, but gets drowned out by the growing maltiness over time. You can’t go wrong aging either one.
     
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  24. CaptainHate

    CaptainHate Devotee (447) Apr 22, 2006 Ohio

    Thank you for that response. I'm not a big hop maven so increasing the malt presence is absolutely my goal along with the other aging enhancements. I was intrigued by the review of Bell's on the April thread so just picked up a six of that.
     
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  25. Lazhal

    Lazhal Devotee (440) Mar 13, 2011 Michigan
    Trader

    Now comes the worst part! :wink:
     
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  26. dlcarst

    dlcarst Initiate (87) Aug 21, 2015 Illinois

    I haven't had Third Coast in a long time. If I recall correctly, it's not as hoppy as Bigfoot. I need to find some and add it to my new larger fridge/cellar.
     
  27. flaskman

    flaskman Devotee (451) Aug 3, 2015 New York
    Premium

    I hope that Barleywine ages well... I have 8 bottles of various Firestone Walkers in boxes with the oldest at 5 years old. Last month I cracked a 3 year old Old Numbskull and drain poured it. I have a 4 pack of Double or Nothing that is 2 years old and several oddballs. I hope the Old Numbskull was just an anomaly.
     
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  28. Jonl0424

    Jonl0424 Initiate (55) May 23, 2015 Michigan

    Just opened mine from 2/19/14 and it tasted great
     
  29. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (327) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    I haven't had many barleywines that got me excited, but some third coast is tasty. Bought a sixer of bigfoot without ever having it and I loved that. The hoppyness definitely worked for my tastebuds. If I knew how good it was I would have bought another sixer... and I wouldn't have aged it.
     
  30. RDMII

    RDMII Disciple (379) Apr 11, 2010 Georgia

    Bells Third Coast is a lot less aggressive than Bigfoot in terms of hops, and therefore doesn't oxidize as badly. I have had Bigfoot in a vertical tasting going back to 1998, there never was a point that I liked it. As the violently assertive hops faded, they became straight wet cardboard. The other people in the tasting were split between hopheads and not so much, and only the hopheads enjoyed the older bottles.
     
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  31. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (327) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    I couldn't age the bigfoot I bought this year, drank em all in a couple weeks. I enjoyed third coast for obviously different reasons. Despite liking two different styles, I've tried some barleywines and wheat wines that are just too sickeningly sweet for me. Maybe with those, aging is the answer? Or I'm just picky... not sure yet.
     
  32. RDMII

    RDMII Disciple (379) Apr 11, 2010 Georgia

    English barleywines are much more malt forward and richer, thicker, and sweeter. They're great fresh and fantastic aged too. American style barleywines to me are just barley heavy imperial IPAs. They age horribly in my opinion.
     
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  33. rypkr

    rypkr Crusader (798) Nov 19, 2011 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    Though classified as a Double IPA (for sheer marketing) dogfish 120 is for all intents and purposes an American Barleywine. And one that I'd certainly add it to the barleywine cellar if space provides.
     
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  34. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,113) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Trader

    Sipping on a 2013 Bigfoot. Picking up some butterscotch, is kinda astringent, not all that enjoyable. Oh it still has a biting bitterness.

    No more aged Bigfoots for me.
     
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